[Ads-l] "cent store" and "Scipio"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 27 08:58:30 UTC 2020

Did Inscoe, John C. "Carolina Slave Names: An Index to Acculturation." say
anything about the motivation for giving slaves these names? Were there any
examples provided of African names? Since the slaves weren't choosing these
names for themselves, is "acculturation" really the proper descriptor for
this process?

On Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 8:10 AM <dave at wilton.net> wrote:

> "Scipio" is his name. This article says the most common source of names
> were those names used by White people at the time, which make up the
> majority, followed by names of African origin, biblical names (those not
> used by Whites), and classical names:
> Inscoe, John C. "Carolina Slave Names: An Index to Acculturation."
> _Journal of Southern History_, 49.4, November 1983, 527–54 at 541. JSTOR:
> "The names themselves cover a wide range, from mythical gods and heroes to
> historic Greek and Roman statesmen, generals, and philosophers. The variety
> was greater in the colonial period, when such names as Bacchus, Virgil,
> Hannibal, Jupiter, Titus, Cato, Cicero, Hector, Cupid, Primus, Augustus,
> Scipio, Nero, Hercules, and Caesar appeared regularly among Carolina males.
> By the mid-nineteenth century only Cato, Cicero, Primus, Caesar, Pompey,
> and Scipio remained in common use. The number of female slaves with
> classical names was somewhat less than that of males, but more of them
> continued to appear on a regular basis. Venus, Diana, Phoebe, Juno, Daphne,
> Dido, and Flora were all common names throughout the slave era, with only
> names like Thisbe, Sappho, Cleopatra, and Minerva fading out after 1800."
> The article is a bit old, but it's what popped up first in a quick search.
> Also, in the nineteenth century there was a fad for naming towns after
> those in classical literature. A drive through upstate New York turns up
> many, Utica, Syracuse, etc.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of
> James Landau
> Sent: Sunday, November 22, 2020 7:58 PM
> Subject: [ADS-L] "cent store" and "Scipio"
> In Nathaniel Hawthorne's _The House of the Seven Gables_ (1851) Hepzibah
> Pyncheon opens a "cent store", that is a store in which everything is
> priced at one cent, in one gable of the House.
> This surprised me, for I had always assumed that the terms "dime store",
> "five and dime", "ten-cent store", etc. were introduced by F. W. Woolworth
> circa 1879.
> Also chapter XIII is a flashback to the early 18th Century.  A man
> identified as "Mr. Pyncheon's black servant" delivers a message and a
> little later admits the recipient to the House.  The servant's name is
> never given.  He is described, and addressed, as "black servant", "black",
> "darkey", and "Scipio"  (he also refers to himself by the N-word).
> "Scipio" is of course the Roman general Scipio Africanus and hence can
> refer to someone from Africa, although unlike the servant addressed as
> "Scipio", the original Scipio Africanus was a white man.
> Does anyone know if "Scipio" was widely used as a term to address or
> describe a black man?
> James Landau
> jjjrlandau at netscape.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

- Wilson
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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